Police are investigating a bandit raid in which at least 45 people were killed Tuesday in northern Kenya.

Police told reporters in Nairobi that at least 45 people and 10 bandits had been killed during or after the raid, which took place early Tuesday in villages near the trading center of Turbi - about 100 kilometers south of the Ethiopian border.

Officials in the field report higher death tolls, ranging from 56 to as high as 86 people, with hundreds wounded.

And, in an apparent revenge attack, 10 more people were killed later Tuesday about 30 kilometers from the site of the massacre.

In a report filed for Kenyan television, journalist Sarah Kimani describes the scene of the carnage.

"Calm has returned but it is very tense, and a lot of people are mourning," she said. "I walked around about six homesteads where children had been left orphaned. I also went to a home where the whole house was cleared. It is a very tough situation, because it is tears and blood everywhere."

It is not immediately clear who the bandits were or why they had attacked.

Survivors report that several hundred bandits armed with AK-47 rifles, sub-machine guns, and hand grenades had surrounded a primary school and other locations in the Turbi area.

The bandits are believed to be from the Borana ethnic group, while most of the victims were from the Gabra ethnic group.

The two groups have long been fighting over access to pasture and watering points in the area, although Tuesday's attack is said to be Kenya's worst episode of ethnic fighting in the area.

Police said they believe the bandits may have crossed over from a neighboring country.